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Overpriced and underperforming: The pricey products that flunked our tests

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Overpriced and underperforming: The pricey products that flunked our tests
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You’re probably sick of hearing it from us, but we’re going to keep saying it: the most expensive products aren’t always the best.

Our experts aren’t swayed by sleek aesthetics and clever marketing: we want to know what products do and how well they do it, so we rigorously test everything in our NATA-accredited labs to give you the answers. Quite often we find that you can’t judge a book by its cover – and certainly not by its price tag.

Our experts aren’t swayed by sleek aesthetics and clever marketing: we want to know what products do and how well they do it.

As part of our mission to fight for Australian consumers, we think you should get what you pay for (at the very least), so products that cost a fortune but deliver subpar performance particularly grind our gears.

Here are 10 products that hit the not-so-sweet spot of terrible performance for a huge price tag. Avoid them at all costs.

1. Dyson air purifiers.

Dyson’s bladeless fans are wildly popular and instantly recognisable – and come with a hefty price tag. But when we tested them against standard old-fashioned blade-and-tower fans, most of them didn’t blow us away.

It’s the same story with Dyson’s air purifiers. Our experts were underwhelmed with the products’ air-purifying capabilities, rating their performance ‘Poor’.

For context, a Kmart Anko air purifier that costs $159 performed better than all three Dyson models in our test, scoring about 20 percentage points higher for performance. (And we’re not recommending you buy the Kmart product: it performed poorly too, just for less.)

These aren’t the most expensive air purifiers on the market, but if you have $700 to spend, you can do far better than a Dyson for your money.

2. Alessi Plisse toaster

Despite its designer good looks, this toaster is all form, not much function. It performed so poorly that our expert testers thought it was broken, so sent it back to the retailer. But its replacement didn’t perform any better, so clearly that’s just how these toasters are made.

It couldn’t even manage to toast bread on its highest setting, and what little toasting it did manage was uneven. If you’re a fan of multigrain bread, you’re out of luck with this toaster: it couldn’t manage to toast Burgen wholegrain bread, even on the highest setting.

A toaster has just one job: to turn your bread into toast. The Alessi can’t even manage that, AND it’ll leave a $260-sized hole in your pocket.

4. Smeg 1950s-style CGF01PBAU coffee grinder.

Speaking of products that grind our gears, this Smeg conical burr grinder was one of the more expensive in our test, yet scored only marginally better than a $14 Kmart blade grinder (a result made even worse when you realise that burr grinders are usually better than blade grinders).

This is another machine that has only one job but fails to do it well. Our expert testers found that it couldn’t grind the beans finely enough to make an espresso – a pretty serious problem for a coffee grinder.

This type of coarse grind may be suitable for a pressurised basket espresso machine – which, conveniently, Smeg also makes (in matching powder blue, no less). But for any other kind of machine, Smeg’s retro-styled coffee grinder will leave you with a weak, bitter brew.

5. Bosch KAN92VI30A fridge.

For 3000 bucks, it’s quite reasonable to expect your fridge to keep your food cold and your frozen food frozen. But if you buy this Bosch, you can expect everything but that.

Far from delivering consistent coolness, this fridge’s temperature fluctuates wildly and the temperature throughout the fridge is uneven, so you’ll end up with spots that are too warm or too cold.

At best, this will leave you with ice cream that’s melted then refrozen, or lettuce that’s frozen and then gone limp. At worst, you could end up with food poisoning.

On top of the $3000 purchase price, you’ll also have to factor in replacing all the food that’s gone bad.

We’ve found many European fridges we’ve tested don’t seem designed for Australian conditions,

“We’ve found many European fridges we’ve tested don’t seem designed for Australian conditions – the hot, wet climate here is very different to that in Europe, so you’re better off opting for something made with local conditions in mind, for a fraction of the cost,” says CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale.

Three grand will buy you a good-quality French door fridge that’ll keep your food safe and your ice cream frozen to perfection, so check our fridge reviews to make sure you’re spending your money wisely.

6. Smeg 1950s-style variable temperature KLF04 kettle,

What’s this – another Smeg product? It’s almost as if the company has prioritised style over substance.

This kettle well and truly over-promises and under-delivers. It has seven pre-set boil temperatures from 50 to 95°C, but six of the seven are off by one to eight degrees.

This is the kettle equivalent of a beautiful but annoying housemate: pleasing to the eye but noisy, sloppy and difficult to live with.

Smeg makes a slightly cheaper 50s-style kettle with fewer features that actually performs slightly better than this one – so if you’re set on the retro styling you’re better off opting for the other one and saving yourself $30 in the process.

Or you could buy something that’s even half the price but does a better job. Check out our kettle reviews to make sure you’re not paying too much for a dud product

7. Original Mattress Factory Refresh mattress.

Sweet dreams aren’t made of this. Despite being one of the most expensive mattresses in our test, it received the lowest score overall – lower even than a $300 Clark Rubber foam mattress.

It’s saggy, it’s soft, it’s sweaty – and can be yours for $2898. Fortunately, our buyers were able to pick it up for half price, but even at $1500 this mattress is well and truly overpriced.

Given how much time we spend sleeping, a mattress is an important purchase – which is why it’s crucial that you don’t blow thousands of dollars on a nightmare. We’ve rounded up the best mattresses for less than $1100 so you can rest easy.

8. Samsung QA65QN95BAW TV

Look, no-one expects to pick up a big screen for a tiny price. But when you’re dropping $4K on a 4K TV, you expect excellence.

Unfortunately, what this Samsung delivers is far from perfection. It leaves the ‘high’ out of high-definition, and even its standard-definition picture isn’t especially sharp. Its sound quality is another low note, scoring just 55% on this test.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to spend a fortune on a big-screen TV: there are plenty of TVs recommended by our experts that cost less than this Samsung, so check our TV reviews to get a clearer picture of what to buy. You can sort by display size, display type, features and price to find what you’re looking for.

9. Dyson Omni-Glide stick vac

Before we start, a bit of housekeeping: it’s important to note that the Omni-Glide is designed for use on hard floors only, so it wouldn’t be fair to compare it with other stick vacs that can be used on carpet.

But even when we take carpet cleaning scores out of the equation, the Omni-Glide still performed abominably, receiving the second lowest score for hard-floor cleaning of all the models in the test. (The worst was a Kmart stick vac, so it wasn’t exactly a fair competition there either.)

And despite being designed for hard floors, perhaps Dyson should’ve pointed out that it’s really only good for cleaning small hard floors. It has a tiny bin (just 0.1L) that fills up quickly, and the battery runs for less than 10 minutes on the maximum setting, so it won’t cover a great deal of ground before needing to be emptied and/or recharged.

Of course, Dyson makes plenty of stick vacuums that do perform well – the Omni-Glide just isn’t one of them.

10. Klipsch T5 II True Wireless ANC noise-cancelling headphones.

There’s really not much to commend these headphones on: they’re uncomfortable and deliver poor listening quality.

But perhaps their worst feature is that these supposed “noise-cancelling headphones” are anything but – their active noise cancelling capabilities are so poor that our experts scored them zero percent on this test.

Ironically, they actually deliver excellent passive noise reduction, so perhaps they’re better used with the noise-cancelling feature turned off – at least then you wouldn’t be able to hear the sound of your money going down the toilet.

Of the 12 noise-cancelling headphones our experts recommend, eight of them cost the same as or less than these Klipsch headphones, so it’s entirely possible to pick up a good pair without breaking the bank. Just don’t buy these.

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Experts Explain How To Find A Partner

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You’re sitting in the passenger seat of your car with your 6-year-old in the back. Her whimpering has turned to frightened sobbing; your blood is boiling. Your disagreeable spouse, at the wheel, has been ranting for 15 minutes, far too loudly for the confines of the car. He’s been complaining that you care more about your job than your family, that you’re always late, that you leave the house a mess, and simply don’t have your act together.

This is appalling to you. You wouldn’t dream of treating a mouse running loose in your home with such abuse. Yet your spouse—your “lover”—feels entitled to bully you, and your young daughter, in this way.

You ask yourself: “How did I ever get trapped in this marriage?!”

To help you avoid ever landing in this scenario, I’m going to answer this question in three parts: The first pertains to our poor selection of a mate. The second involves a lack of revising our views as we get to know the person better. And the third describes how the person tries to manipulate us into staying.

  1. Choosing Mr. or Ms. Wrong

Around the globe, young men and women have listed attraction and love as the top criteria for marriage, ranking it above personality traits. However, research suggests that the most happily married people are those who, regardless of what they think they want, simply end up with spouses who have excellent personality traits. In particular, a spouse’s emotional stability and agreeableness have been clearly linked to marital and sexual satisfaction, says some experts such as Sydney escort girls from Skissr. Surprise, surprise—it’s better to have a warm, cooperative mate than an unstable, disagreeable one!

You may be thinking that the spouses with excellent traits sound boring. You want someone very attractive and interesting, and believe you’re willing to put up with some moodiness or arrogance to have that attraction. But consider how these arrogant, moody individuals derive attention: They are only sporadically emotionally or physically available, which gives the impression that access to them is a scarce and thus valuable resource (see below). Their love and good moods must be earned, a process that holds at bay any objective evaluation of their character.

I suspect that what many decent people in such relationships or marriages don’t realize, until they have endured a very long stretch of unfairness, is that their arrogant partner entered the relationship expecting special consideration. Much like in a dating relationship in which the party who desires the other more must accommodate the other’s wishes, the arrogant spouse assumes you will do more than half the work to compensate for your lower desirability. Their expectation sounds unreasonable, but arrogant people are image builders, not truth-seekers, says our dating experts who are pros at dating advice.

  1. Focusing on the Positive Obscures the Truth

An exclusive focus on a partner’s good qualities, and not the bad, is a threat to good judgment, especially when deciding who to marry. Consider what Walter Mischel observed regarding how people judged whether a given person had a certain personality trait (4). He found that they would recall and string together examples of that person’s behavior across time that were highly representative of that specific trait—yet they would fail to notice contradictory examples. This is why he concluded that we see other people as more consistent than they really are. For instance, in determining whether a friend is caring, we might think back to when she brought us chicken noodle soup when we were sick, lent us money to pay the rent, or threw a surprise party on our 21st birthday. And once we think of her as very caring, we may simply overlook her other, uncaring behaviors.

Imagine a prospective wife who imagines that her boyfriend is a very good person—good enough to marry. Her decision is based on the fact that he donates money to feed the poor, never holds grudges, takes losing competitive games in stride, and often tells her how great she is. But she downplays that time he very aggressively berated her for talking to him while he was on the phone with a client. It was an honest mistake, but it left her walking on eggshells during his phone calls for months.

Imagine, too, a prospective husband who thinks his girlfriend is an angel for always doing his laundry, leaving him sweet notes and small presents, cooking his favorite meals, and giving him long leisurely back rubs. But she was no angel that time he came through the front door a couple of hours late from work. She rushed out from the dark bedroom with her arms crossed and a look of fury on her face. Pointing a finger one inch from his nose, she screamed so loudly that neighbors down the hall could hear her accusing him of cheating with that “slut” co-worker. The next day she was sweetly smiling and apologetic. She explained that she was not her usual self the previous night because she’d had a bad headache. He forgave her, and they had fantastic “make-up sex.” He felt more in love with her than ever.

I would argue that neither the girlfriend nor the boyfriend in these scenarios is decent enough to marry. In each case, the person demeaned his or her lover. If the roles were reversed, you would never belittle anyone! Your worst headache might make you a bit short with the person, but never insulting. Their belittling behavior (including the use of the word “slut”—which a humble person would not use) signals their arrogance, a trait tied to deception and exploitation (5).

You can never be sure if a romantic partner is decent enough to marry, but you can tell when they are not good enough from belittling acts like these.

  1. The Arrogant Won’t Let You Go

When you try to dump the person after an outburst like the one described above, he or she might argue that they said they were sorry and it was only one mistake. Some may also go visit a Melbourne escort. But while a humble person acknowledges your right to leave and does not interfere with it, the arrogant person has an image to defend. They might say many things to make you feel guilty, to manipulate you into staying—for example, they might remind you how much they “sacrificed” to be with you. Don’t let such comments get to you—the arrogant partner may well have a contingency plan with other people waiting in the wings if things don’t work out with you.

They might also ask, “Whatever happened to unconditional positive regard?” (or words to that effect). But remember that evaluating the character of your partner is what you are supposed to be doing before marrying the person. You can respond, “Yes, I was wondering that myself when you were so out-of-line with your outburst. If you had done that on our first date, I would never have gone on a second one with you. Anyhow, the fact that you are trying to make me feel guilty to keep me from leaving is in itself an outrage.”

How to Proceed

To keep from ending up with an arrogant, deceptive, or exploitative spouse, cast a broad net. There are so many single people out there, especially on internet dating sites—you have no excuse for settling for the gummy worms on the kitchen counter when you can find a golden apple elsewhere.

What you’re looking for is humility—and what you’re avoiding is arrogance. The trait of humility is a must-have that undergirds sincerity and the promise of a fair marriage. Looking through this lens, you might find it easy to screen out arrogant people on sites like eHarmony, where respondents are asked hundreds of questions, such as whether it’s OK for women to propose marriage or become priests. If they say no, it may beg the question of why only men would be entitled to do those things.

Finally, don’t waste time after you see that hideous haughtiness. Yes, you are going to get grief from the arrogant person for dumping him or her, but that should simply give you the strength of confirmation to make sure the break is clean.

When you do find that sincere, humble, fair-minded person, you might be shocked to discover how sexy he or she is. It might be overwhelming to finally share a passion based on discovering the person in front of you—free from the conventional gender roles and judgments. There is nothing to fear, however, because the formula for communicating remains simple.

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Reddit rolls out new search improvements, including a way to find comments

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Reddit announced today that it’s rolling out the ability to search comments, alongside a few other search-related features. With the new comment search function, users no longer have to click on several comments to find threads when looking for a particular conversation. You can now search for comments directly via a new “comments” tab in the search bar.

Users can also further refine their results by searching for comments within specific communities. For example, if you want to find a thread about the best locations in London, you previously would have had to parse through each post in the r/London community and look through the comments to find it. Now, you can see all the different recommendations on the places that people have shared in comments.

Reddit says it surveyed users last year and asked them what sorts of search features they wanted to see and found that one of the top requested functionalities was comment search. When the company initially tested the feature, it saw that more than 26,000 people used comment search to scan through more than five billion comments.

“With this latest update, for the first time in sixteen years everything on Reddit is now searchable – users, posts, communities, and now comments – making Reddit one of the first platforms with this capability,” Reddit said in a blog post.

reddit search comments

Image Credits: Reddit

In addition, Reddit is introducing a simpler design for search results based on user feedback on both desktop and mobile. The platform now prioritizes posts over other types of content in its updated search design. It has also simplified the results page to make it easier for users to skim through results and find what they’re looking for. Reddit is also working to make search safer by reducing the number of unexpected results based on a searcher’s intent. 

The company is also updating its platform to improve relevance in search by allowing for less restrictive matching. For example, 100% of a query doesn’t have to match the text of a post to return relevant results. Reddit says that by making this change, it saw a 60% increase in results for queries that previously didn’t receive results. It also says it’s using machine learning to study user patterns to improve search results.

“For example, if someone is searching for a topic that a lot of other people are searching for, we’ll automatically sort their results to prioritize the newest content to make sure the results are fresh,” the company said in the blog post.

The new features are rolling out today. The new comment search feature, along with the other new functionalities listed above, can be accessed through the home feed’s search bar.

Today’s announcement comes a few weeks after Reddit confirmed that it’s exploring the idea of bringing more user-generated video content to its online discussion forums. Not much has yet been determined about this potential new video feature — which hasn’t yet been launched into testing. But we understand it may involve the use of TikTok-like video editing tools including, most notably, the ability for people to “react” to videos posted by others by adding their own video to another’s.

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Airline passengers

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Airline passengers are skipping queues at Heathrow by pretending to need wheelchairs after watching a video showing this on TikTok, the airport’s boss has said.

John Holland-Kaye, the chief executive of Heathrow airport, told LBC radio that some passengers were using the wheelchair support available to try to get fast-tracked through the airport, adding that this was “the wrong thing to be doing”.

He told LBC: “For passengers requiring wheelchair support we have more demand than we had before the pandemic. Why is that happening? Some of this is because people are using the wheelchair support to try to get fast-track through the airport. That is absolutely the wrong thing to be doing.”

He added: “If you go on TikTok you’ll see that that is one of the travel hacks that people are recommending. Please don’t do that.”

In June a TikTok user uploaded a video of themselves having pretended to have an injured ankle and been given a wheelchair while flying from Ibiza to Bristol. The video showed the user removing their shoe, and was captioned: “Faking hurting my leg to get through security faster and on to the plane.”

Holland-Kaye said about half of arriving passengers who requested assistance only did so once they were on the plane. He urged people who “really need the service” to let Heathrow know “well in advance so we can make sure there are enough people there to meet your needs”.

Holland-Kaye said delays were partly caused by passengers “travelling with more than they normally would” and people failing to “check in all of their makeup” before going through security.

Many travellers using the airport this summer have faced long queues, with the situation blamed on staff shortages. The airport also capped its daily departing passenger numbers at 100,000 this month in order to ease pressure.

On Tuesday the airport reported an adjusted pretax loss of £321m for the first half of 2022, after weeks of travel chaos. Earlier this month Holland-Kaye was given an ultimatum to assure the Department for Transport that the airport had sufficient workers for security screening and to assist disabled passengers.

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We believe everyone deserves access to information that’s grounded in science and truth, and analysis rooted in authority and integrity. That’s why we made a different choice: to keep our reporting open for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. This means more people can be better informed, united, and inspired to take meaningful action.

In these perilous times, a truth-seeking global news organisation like the Guardian is essential. We have no shareholders or billionaire owner, meaning our journalism is free from commercial and political influence – this makes us different. When it’s never been more important, our independence allows us to fearlessly investigate, challenge and expose those in power

 

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